The appeal of the open road and delivering goods in a big old truck to businesses worldwide has – strangely – been a very popular choice for gamers. However, on console, we have been very limited in our choices, looking on with envy at our PC neighbours who have been traveling the world in customised lorries of all shapes and sizes.
Truck Driver has helped bridge the gap a little. However the base game divided audiences with its bugs and glitches, warming few hearts in the process. Now there is an expansion pack that takes us to a new location. Let’s drive as we go Heading North.
Truck Driver: Heading North takes us to the Nordic-themed island of Mangefjell. It’s easy to get to from the main game, grabbing a ferry from the mainland; before you can say Good Buddy, you are there. As always Uncle Karl is there on the other end of the phone to give you advice and set you up with some sweet contacts for jobs. The island that you are on is a fair size too, but it feels a bit more empty. Be prepared for lots of long drives contemplating the reality of human life.
The jobs you get come from mixture of different people on opposite sides of the map, with the only story provided from the conversations with the employers. For example, a factory having problems with delivery drivers because of problems with elves; fitting in with part of Nordic folklore. These additions to the text chats made me laugh, helping give a bit more substance to what Heading North provides away from the constant back and forth of delivering.
With a game like Truck Driver, you should know what you are getting yourself in to. It goes without saying that should you not particularly like driving in games then neither the base game nor the Heading North DLC will be for you. In fact, aside from that driving, there is not a lot else going on.
The good news is that the game isn’t overly complicated, like others in the genre may be. You have your truck and you look around the island for certain jobs. A typical job will be for you to connect your truck to a trailer for delivery, before following the sat nav to the delivery point. You collect cash at the end of the job and experience points, with the latter allowing you to gain new decals or customisation for the truck. Cash allows you to action repairs to your truck and also buy new ones, customising once again to your heart’s content.
Driving is pretty straightforward. Switching bits and bobs on is par for the course, but then it’s just a quick push of the accelerator and you are off. You’ll need to be careful when travelling though, mostly of crashing and activating speed cameras. Going through red lights will see fines coming your way too, rubbing out that hard-earned cash. You also have two stamina bars to watch out for, so keeping an eye for rest spots and fuel stops is a necessity.
The island of Mangefjell looks fine, full of barren – yet hilly – landscapes. Small towns appear, as do the industrial areas when you actioning your deliveries. Don’t think of this as a detailed triple-A game in terms of graphics, but it does skies very well, whilst the lighting is pretty decent. The menus are also well-designed and easy to navigate through, yet in-game there are some moments of visual pop-up in terms of draw distances. It never bothered me, but it’s something to be aware of. There’s little to say about the soundtrack other than that it has a folky feel to it. As always with these games, make your music or stick on a podcast.
Truck Driver: Heading North is an okay expansion. It adds in a good number of extra missions and some bits and bobs of story, told through the conversations with the employers. Mangefjell looks okay and it has some nice skies, but if you didn’t get on with Truck Driver the first time around, there is little here to bring you back. Think of it as more of the same – and unfortunately, that does mean the occasional bit of dull driving.
But then, that’s what Truck Driver is all about, so you can’t criticise that as you go Heading North.